Summary: We all have need of a shelter and a source of protection, strenth and safety. In the Psalms we discover that God Himself is our refuge.
God is the Refuge of My Soul
- Ever been in a struggle where you needed more than a little cover? Where you needed some kind of mobile protection, a shield, a fortress and a nice warm blanket all in one?
I needed a mobile shelter like that as a school boy bringing home the dreaded report card…
…as a teenager in some of the struggles I went through
… when my friends let me down
… when my parents divorced
… when I was so confused in college
… when I got my first real job
… the first time my boss called me on the carpet
… the first real fight I got into in my marriage
… the latest fight I got into in my marriage
… the first time I looked at my daughter and realized I had no idea how to be a Dad.
… the first time I looked at my son and was frightened that he might turn out too much like me.
We all need our shield, our shelters, our protective covers. We’re looking for a way to feel safe. We’re looking for a protective cover where I can go to feel secure, to feel assured and confident of my survival. We want a shelter we can go into to find rest, to find peace. We’re looking for a fortress and stronghold where our rescue can come from.
But our problem is we look for this shelter in the wrong place. We try to build a protective covering out of the wrong materials.
* We try to shelter ourselves through gaining acceptance. But instead we end up turning into a chameleon or trying to become a celebrity.
* We try to cover ourselves through accomplishment. We walk around trying to prove ourselves to others, sticking out our chest, pointing to our medals – all the while looking like a peacock with its flume held high.
* We try to protect ourselves through acquisition. Somewhere we bought into this idea of chasing after financial security, as if there were such a thing. If I can just get enough stuff, if I can just achieve enough buying power, then I’ll be secure, then I’ll be safe.
If I have acceptance, if I have accomplishments, if I have acquisitions… I think I’m secure, I may believe I’m protected. But the truth is quite obvious isn’t it. You will still have troubles, you will still have pain. Like a hot knife cutting through soft butter, the pain and problems and fears and doubts and despair of life cut right through our man-made protections. They can’t stand up to the struggles of this world because they are of this world and of this world only.
You need a shield, a fortress, a stronghold that is supernatural – that rust and moth can’t harm. You need a refuge from above.
One of the most frequent and valuable images of God from the Psalms is the image of God as a refuge. What is a refuge? This isn’t a word we use all that often in our everyday language.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10
39The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. 40The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37: 39-40
16But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. 17O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. Psalm 59: 16-17
“I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
4The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:1-6
Did you notice these three key words?
Rock Fortress Deliverer
“my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.” – vs 2 “He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – vs 2 “I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” – vs 3